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Tigers get their revenge, overwhelm Spartans

Somerset goalie Dylan Rivard prevented last Thursday's game from being an early blowout. He stopped 25 shots in the first period, including this one from New Richmond's Jake Bellows.

The New Richmond boys hockey team played one of its best periods to start out last Thursday's game against Somerset.

And the Tigers never took their foot off the accelerator. They outshot Somerset 53-20 to earn a 4-1 victory. The win puts the Tigers at 2-1 in the Middle Border Conference. Their loss came in their first meeting with Somerset. They can continue their reign as the only MBC hockey champion if they can win their final three conference games.

Two of those games come this week. The Tigers play at home on Thursday against Amery. The following night the Tigers will play at Baldwin-Woodville, making up a recent postponement.

The win over Somerset showed how well the Tigers can play. They started the game absolutely flying. They pelted Somerset goalie Dylan Rivard with 27 shots in the first period. The Tigers steadily fed the puck back to their defensemen, who kept putting hard-driven shots on net.

The first Tiger goal came from freshman defenseman Nate Jones. His shot from the point hit a skate and buzzed past Rivard, for Jones' first varsity goal.

Just over a minute later, another Tiger defenseman bagged his first varsity goal. This time it was sophomore Tyler Montgomery. He received a pass and, from the right faceoff circle, was able to fire a shot that got under Rivard's catching glove.

Somerset then scored 30 seconds later. That 2-1 score stood until late in the second period.

Tiger freshman Dom Peterson was moved from defense to forward for this game following a shoulder injury to Jared Singerhouse last Tuesday. If Peterson continues to play this way, he may stay at forward. He scored his first varsity goal with 1:44 left in the second period. Jake Bellows won a battle along the wall, then fired a centering pass toward the front of the net. Peterson, who showed he's willing to fight for position in front of the net, redirected the pass past Rivard.

The game was put to rest two minutes into the third period. Tiger defenseman Eric Wergin scored on a shot from the point seven seconds into a power play. His goal was set up by a faceoff win by Bellows.

The Tigers finished the game with a 53-20 edge in shots in the game. Tiger goalie Tanner Milliron stopped 19 of the shots to get his sixth win of the season.

Eau Claire losses

The Somerset win was sandwiched between losses to the Eau Claire public high schools. The Tigers lost a quality battle to Eau Claire Memorial last Tuesday, 2-0.

The Tigers followed up the win over Somerset with a clunker, losing to Eau Claire North 6-1.

Last week the Tigers followed a pattern that they've been caught up in for much of the season. Tiger coach Adam Swanda said the Tigers either break out with four or more goals in a game, or they score less than two in a game.

Memorial is 10-3-1 and ranked in the state. The Tigers played them evenly until the final seconds of the second period. Memorial scored the first goal of the game with eight seconds left in the period.

"You can be expected to win many games when you give up goals in the waning seconds of periods," Swanda said.

Memorial scored again in the middle of the second period. The Old Abes had a 27-20 shot advantage in the game, but few of the Tigers' shots were generated from close range.

Against North the game was scoreless until the final moments of the period. The Tigers took a bad penalty to start the problem. They then failed to clear the puck, allowing the Huskies to score with seven seconds left in the period.

The game blew up on the Tigers in the second period. The only Tiger goal was scored on an end-to-end rush by Tanner Olek after the Tigers trailed 6-0.

"I don't have an explanation," Swanda said about the dropoff in the team's play between Thursday and Saturday.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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